There are a lot of sketchy “audio converters” out there trying to get you to pay $20 for something you can do for free with this hidden feature in iTunes. It’s simple to use and works with your pre-existing library.
Open up the iTunes preferences (iTunes > Preferences, or Command+Comma) and navigate to the “General” tab. Click the “Import Settings” button at the bottom.
This window lets change the format in which new songs are added to your library. You can choose from any of the options here, but we’ll use MP3.
By default, the bitrate is quite low, but you can turn it up:
The bitrate directly controls the quality of the audio. 320kbps is as high as most MP3s go and is very good quality. However, if the file you’re converting isn’t the same quality, it won’t make a difference.
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Now that we’ve changed the import settings, we can use the built in “Create a Copy” function to duplicate a song. Since we’ve chosen MP3 as our file format of choice, the encoder will use that when copying the song. You can find this option under File > Create MP3 Version.
This will duplicate the file, so you’ll have two files with the same name in your library after this. You can right click either one of them and choose “Show in Finder” from the drop-down menu to gain access to the actual MP3 file.
You can convert as many songs at a time as you’d like. iTunes saves the copies under the same album folder, so you can sort by “Date Modified” or “Date Added” in Finder to pick out the new songs. Look for files created all at the same time.
From here you can move them somewhere else or delete the old files.
If you need something better than using iTunes, or don’t want to add your files to iTunes just to convert them, you can try XLD, a free and open source audio converter.
Just download the DMG, open the program and select the output format, and then choose “Open” from the file menu. It will automatically convert the files and save them in the same directory.
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